Turkish officials on Sunday decried the execution of 13 Turkish citizens in a cave in northern Iraq and reiterated their determination in the fight against terrorism.
“PKK, a designated terrorist organization in Turkey, the United States and the European Union, murdered 13 Turkish citizens who were held in northern Iraq. They were brave sons of Turkey, a key NATO ally and a key contributor to the global war on terror,” Turkey's Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said on Twitter.
Noting that Turkey will continue its counter-terrorism efforts with “unwavering determination until the terror threat is completely and permanently eliminated,” Altun said necessary steps are also going to be taken against those promoting and encouraging terrorism at home and abroad.
Referring to the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), which is accused by the government of having links to the PKK terror group, he said: “Have you no shame? Are you so afraid of your gun-waving masters that you can’t even condemn this crime against humanity?
“Today, your silence means tacit consent – and complicity.”
He also criticized western nations for their "deafening silence" on the incident.
“The West’s deafening silence in the face of PKK’s terror attacks and heinous crimes, too, serves as a reminder that there is a big difference between talking about democracy, rights and the law, and actually supporting those principles. Hence your utter lack of credibility,” he said.
“Our revenge will be painful. Our justice will be swift,” he added.
- ‘World is silent’
Turkey’s presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin also condemned the murder. “It [PKK] attacks Turkish Iraqi security forces civilians. It continues its terrorist attacks in northern Syria.
“The world is silent. This silence is a shameful act of complicity. But we will not remain silent,” he added.
Turkey's First Lady Emine Erdogan also took to Twitter to condemn the attack and conveyed condolences to the families of the deceased.
Turkey’s parliament speaker Mustafa Sentop wished Allah’s mercy upon the victims.
Political parties in the country, including the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and the Iyi (Good) Party, were also among those who condemned the murder.
“Our heroic soldiers are giving the necessary response to this heinous murder network. Killing of 13 innocent citizens is an attack on humanity,” AK Party’s spokesman Omer Celik said on Twitter.
-PKK reveals its ugly face again
Turkey’s Director of Religious Affairs Ali Erbas also condemned the attack.
“This treacherous terrorist organization, which revealed its ugly face again, will never reach its goal,” Erbas said.
The bodies of 13 Turkish citizens were found during Turkey’s anti-terror operation in northern Iraq, according to Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on Sunday.
He said the innocent and unarmed Turks were shot dead -- one in the shoulder, and the rest in their heads.
Turkey launched Operation Claw-Eagle 2 on Feb. 10 to prevent the PKK/KCK and other terror groups from re-establishing positions used to carry out cross-border terror attacks.
Operations Claw-Tiger and Claw-Eagle were initiated last June to ensure the safety of Turks and Turkey's borders.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.